Earlier today, Morrissey announced a massive tour of the British Isles for 2018. The announcement comes amidst heightened band activity from Morrissey as he prepares to release his eleventh long playing record, Low In High School.
The tracks we've heard from it so far hint at an impressive body of work. Not least 'Spent The Day In Bed' - a track with a resilient riff and a surprisingly snappy refrain. Notably too, it offers some sage advice for anyone who’s become distraught as a result of these turbulent times: "Stop watching the news / Because the news contrives to frighten you / To make you feel small and alone / To make you feel that your mind isn't your own."
But with ten other albums already out there's not time like the present to listen to the journey he's been on to get his sound to where it's at today, and why tracks from certain albums don't make it into the set any more and why others are staples. See what makes the top grade below.
10 – Maladjusted - 1997
Morrissey’s recent BBC Maida Vale show and indeed the Jools Holland TV appearance did not bear any of the fruits from 1997’s labour, Maladjusted. Probably, that is because there are no fruits on this album. The ‘classic’ Boz Boorer line-up, and Steve Lillywhite produced effort aside from the usual controversy courting in the shape of the referencing of London pop thug John ‘Biffo’ Bindon means there is nothing much of note to save this one, except maybe for the single Roy’s Keen. Morrissey either looks like he is packing a pair of unfeasibly large gonads on the cover artwork; either that or he has actually shat his kecks. Probably the latter as frankly the album sounds like he has too.
9 – Kill Uncle - 1991
Stretching even further back into the 90s, an album it seems lost in the long and fading memory of our Moz perhaps, not to mention many of the fans. Again, nothing doing on Jools or at the Maida Vale performance either! Not even album standout (or saving grace, which ever you prefer) Sing Your Life, which for us here at Gigwise is a great shame.
8. World Peace is None of Your Business - 2014
A mixed bag of mediocre Morrissey recorded in France several years back. Interestingly the cover art shows the Moz threatening to stick a pen up the nose of a chocolate furred Labrador. What became of this canine encounter we to this day will never know. But at least the album includes the masterful Istanbul, a number that went down a storm in BBC Maida Vale. Title track was also a part of the set.
7. Years of Refusal – 2009
Ninth studio album notable for being the first Morrissey LP since Your Arsenal not to feature classic line-up fellow, and one time songwriting partner Alain Whyte on lead guitar – a departure that was sadly due to illness. Morrissey at the time was seen to be hanging out with fellow upsetters Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross to ultimately create a new, sassy and without doubt dubious press vibe. At least for a little while anyway, until tabloid ragss told of Brand being noticeably omitted from the Mozzer’s 50th knees up that same year. PR bullshit aside, Morrissey released the single Throwing my Arms around Paris from this album and delivered a sterling rendition of it to end this week’s Maida Vale performance.
6. Southpaw Grammar - 1995
The mid 90s were the height of Morrissey’s 'East End' years, but his framing of this influence was at times a little confused with the original album artwork showing a photograph of U.S boxer Kenny Lane and furthermore there was a weird obsession with a middle weight fighter from Middlesbrough, Cornelius Carr who appeared in the video Boxers (not included on the album), and on the cover artwork for the 1995 compilation album World of Morrissey. Carr can even be seen on earlier Smiths single Sweet and Tender Hooligan. None the less, Southpaw Grammar is a powerful album, with great singles Dagenham Dave and Boy Racer making for an uncompromising claim.
5. You are the Quarry – 2004
The ‘comeback album’! Following a 7 year absence from music whilst Los Angeles living and Nancy Sinatra hanging came out of the blue a big bang, does what it says on tin, super dose of classic Morrissey contradicting the expectations of many, before bloodying their noses with the likes of Irish Blood, English Heart, and First of the Gang to Die.
4. Your Arsenal – 1992
Glam rock stompers as endorsed by David Bowie and Mick Ronson at the time, and the latter even turning out for Production duties too. This week Moz played us live fave Jack the Ripper, which it appears these days is nearest anyone is going to get to the Your Arsenal album which is now unbelievably and spectacularly a quarter of a century old.
3. Ringleader of the Tormentors – 2006
From LA to Rome, Morrissey falls not only in love with the Italian capital but also in love with someone in the city and it seems to suit him. Tony Visconti production and Ennio Morricone contributions didn't hurt either. A thoroughly enjoyable album and this week’s show were superbly kicked off with album high point You have Killed Me.
2. Viva Hate - 1988
So much better than anyone expected. Morrissey’s debut solo album is up there with The Smith's best. Some fillers but the highs are quite simply sublime. Of course Moz has the current new release to think about, and a sizeable part of his pending release has been on good display this week across the aforementioned BBC performances but an outing of Margaret On The Guillotine or Suedehead would have been just fine, and in these funny old times still more than relevant somehow.
1. Vauxhall and I - 1994
Usually cited as Morrissey’s best all round album. The swooning beauty of the opening track Now My Heart is Full, quoting Brighton Rock leads to sticking fingers up at his critics in the album closer, Speedway, with never a dull moment in between. Speedway being the only song from this record to feel full throttle treatment at Maida Vale with its tribal pulsating and lyrics that engrave upon the memory of those casual persons just passing through.
"and when you try to break my spirit it just won't happen because there is nothing left to break" .. Exactly! What’s not to love!
Morrissey plays the below dates. Tickets will be available here from 10am next Friday (3 Nov)
16th – Aberdeen BHGE Arena
17th – Glasgow The SSE Hydro
20th – Dublin 3Arena
23rd – Newcastle Metro Arena Arena
24th – Leeds First Direct Arena
27th – Birmingham Genting Arena
3rd – Brighton Brighton Centre
7th – London Royal Albert Hall
9th – London Alexandra Palace